Kind of a shore break here so no real surfing so to speak but you can do some fun body whomping in the shore pound..watch the rips though as they are frequent here. Best time to swim in in the morning prior to 11 or after 3pm when the sand starts to cool down. From 11-3 the black sand is a bit on the hot side to walk on barefoot.
The locals love beach soccer and in the village of Hawaii they have a championship team. If you are around during a festival you will probably see a game...Look for the Gallo tent and the noise.
If you stay at ARCAS during turtle season you will do plenty of this. There are a few other hatcheries near Monterrico. ARCAS does releases based on when the turtles are ready while some of the other places will hold hatchlings for tourist releases..ARCAS is more pro-turtle so to speak.
You can eat any any of the many places in town, a local tienda, or cook a meal yourself.
I did it all> Monterrico was a bit over priced compared to Hawaii but the food was safe westernized so to speak..that being said the real meals for me were in Hawaii and on the basic side..we even BBQ'd some local fish one night and washed it down with many bottles of Gallo.
If you are in Casa Austrica, prepare yourself to eat well!! My friend Franz owner and chef will give you a warm welcome. You will litsen to relaxing music and forget where you are.
Breakfast can be anything from season fruit to olmettes and his famous and delicious palaschinken (I probably got it wrong), this are like creps with berries jam and fine sugar..mmmm it makes my mouth water..
For lunch go for the fresh fish or shrimps!!!!! they are both great!!
and at night ask for a pizza, as he has the only wood oven in monterrico and that´s how pizza is done!! and there is nothing like pizza and a very cold beer!!
Favorite Dish: Margarita Pizza !! go nuts..
A shared van from Monterrico from Antigua should cost around 10 USD that drops you off on Calle Principale or at your hotel if you have one. The chicken bus runs from Antigua and Guatemala City for less but leave at odd hours. There is one bus running to Antigua that passes thru Hawaii around 2pm every day give or take a few min. If you are not into the chicken bus head to language institute on Calle Principale and there is an operator there that runs shared vans to Antigua that take about 2-2.5 hours and cost $10 USD. If you want to go to Hawaii Park from Antigua/Guatemala City - contact Colum at ARCAS and he can arrange a ride thru one of their vendors or you can find the phone # on the ARCAS website..they will take you directly to the entrance of the park rather than having to sit in the back of a pick up for the 8 k ride from Monterrico for about the same price.
There is a grass strip (airfield) in Monterrico but it is served by charter airlines and is best arranged from Guatemala City or Antigua....it is a short ride for the most part so unless you like riding in small planes and have the cash to do so it is best to go by road.
You can walk to Hawaii Park from Monterrico but due to the black sand beaches and the fact that they absord heat I would stick to the road and bring plenty of water...a local will probably offer you a free ride along the way or you may have to pay 5-7Q for the taxi(back of a pick up)
There is safety in numbers. Crime for the most part is not a problem in Monterrico. Just use common sense like you would at home. Watch out for the quads at night as they are used by turtle egg buyers to check on the many Parlameros (egg poachers) that wander the beach during nexting season. Take a flash light/tourch with you and flash them a could of times and they will steer around you. Some of the poachers have wised up and where safety vests so they are not hit..not a bad idea to wear one if you have it.
The only notable trouble has been with some locals near Hawaii that have approached and raped volunteers..yes they went with a male escort but the locals had a hand gun which proved made resistance a bit pointless. To my knowledge the guys that did this were recently identified by the locals and dealt with in a way that they should not longer be problem...Keep in mind that is a rare event and following the advise of ARCAS and or your hotel should keep you safe. There are tourist police in/around Monterrico but around the villages in Hawaii Park the locals are good folk and out to harm tourists in fact they frown upon those that do.
Luggage and bags:
Travel light - the weather is warm here even in the rainy season. During rainy season it might be a good idea to bring a slicker. A sturdy backpack should work just fine plus it fits in the overhead bin of a plane so you don't have to check a bag which as a former baggage handler I hate to do.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: It's hot here so bring light cloths that dry quickly. Shoe wise you will need some slaps for walking on the blacksand beach in the afternoon as it absorbs the suns rays and gets super hot. A good pair of tennis shoes for heading inland into the mangrove forrest is a good idea also. At ARCAS I wore socks at night and did not go barefoot often due to the fire ants...I still got bit but it could have been worse.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Most hotels including ARCAS have TP in the bathrooms....we never ran out at ARCAS (just remember to put the used stuff in the basket and dump it once a day in the fire pit) Bring your meds from home if you need them along with mosquito wipes/cream as the buggers are bad at night..they are the worst during rainy season.
Photo Equipment: Digital is the way to go..they have US style power outlets to charge your batteries or cel phone. You can upload and send your photos from the ARCAS laptop if you stay there.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: A towel for the beach/shower is a good idea as they are not provided at ARCAS..the hotels in Monterrico should have them though. Due to the sun..don't forget a hat and shades also. I wore took a rash guard for swimming but never wore it as most of the time I went swimming after 3 pm when the sand cooled off.
Miscellaneous: If you are going to head into Hawaii if you brought a soccer balls for the kids in the village you would be a local hero as the village is the home of the national sand league soccer team in Guatemala so the sport is very popular.